LIMA — A month after hearing about criminal behavior at local bars, Lima City Council passed a liquor permit objection against Ketzy’s Bar but held back from passing a similar objection against Levels Lounge due to a lone “no” vote by Councilor Jamie Dixon.
Two weeks prior, council had moved Ketzy’s Bar’s objection ordinance to second reading due to a potential business deal, but local businessman Ray Magnus clarified Monday night the business deal was not going forward. Upon further investigation of Ketzy’s Bar, Magnus said he found the bar’s owner had 59 tax liens placed against the property by federal agencies, a fact which hampered Magnus from purchasing the property and closing down the bar.
“I was hoping to come here tonight with some good news, but that’s not possible,” Magnus said.
Council unanimously passed the objection, which will be sent to Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control for further action.
In comparison, Levels Lounge faces one last reading before the issue of its liquor permit renewal is resolved for this year.
Levels Manager Michael Liles spoke before council Monday night to clarify the events of a shooting that happened outside of Levels less than 24 hours before council met.
Liles said he has taken action to increase security at the bar by hiring security guards, installing metal detectors, closing the establishment earlier and instituting outside patrols of the bar to cut down on the number of calls for service for law enforcement. However, since the incident did not originate inside the bar, management was unable to stop it from happening, he said.
“What we could have done to prevent that situation? I don’t know,” Liles said.
Councilor Carla Thompson, who motioned to pass the Levels objection ordinance on second reading, said she appreciated Liles’ clarification, but past history at the bar proved valid enough reason to approve the ordinance.
“If you’re not getting the results you want, you need to change the way you’re doing things. There are some big things and little things that you can change to get what you want,” Thompson said.
However, with Dixon’s “no” and the two abstentions voiced by Councilors Sam McLean and Derry Glenn, the ordinance failed to pass on second reading.
Even with a May deadline to file objections, Levels Lounge’s objection ordinance will still get a third reading. At the end of the meeting, Council President John Nixon scheduled a special council meeting to be held Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m. to vote a third time.
In related news, Tracy Lombardo, co-owner of North Side Firehouse, also took the podium Monday night to thank Thompson and Lima Police Department’s Sgt. Nick Hart for their efforts in creating an action plan to update security at the Firehouse. After getting a warning from council, the bar has hired additional security and created a no-tolerance policy when it comes any physical altercations at the establishment.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.